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Senate President Steve Sweeney, left, with Roseland Democratic Municipal Chairman Jay Coltre, center, and James Spango, the Democratic candidate for mayor of Roseland

Sweeney wades into Roseland Dem fight

Senate President backs DiVincenzo over Codey

By Nikita Biryukov, June 04 2018 4:31 pm

NEWARK – Senate President Steven Sweeney is putting his weight behind a county committee race in Roseland days after he said it wasn’t right to get involved in party fights in outside counties.

“I support the county executive’s teams, and that’s his team and that’s where I’m at,” Sweeney said Monday, referring to Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo. “I was asked, and I supported it. I don’t have a vote. I don’t have a vote in Hudson County. I don’t have a vote in Essex County, but I support the county executive 100%.”

The endorsement, which was first announced on the Roseland Democratic Committee’s Twitter page, is a departure from an attitude Sweeney held last week, when he punted a question on whether or not he would weigh in on the race for Hudson County Democratic chair.

“You don’t do those things in each county,” Sweeney said at the time, adding that he had a very close relationship with State Sen. Brian Stack, who’s running for the Hudson chairmanship.

But, apparently, that relationship doesn’t carry over to support in a campaign for county-level party post.

Sweeney and Stack are viewed as very close, personally and politically.  Stack was among the first Democratic senators to endorse Sweeney when he decided to challenge Senate President Richard Codey.

The Hudson race seems to be more the exception than the rule for Sweeney, who also endorsed State Sen. Nicholas Scutari for Union County Democratic chairman earlier this year only 2.5 hours after late Assemblyman Jerry Green resigned the post.

The possible reasons for his reticence on Hudson’s race are numerous, but many deal with a reluctance to anger either of the two powerful New Jersey Democrats at the center of the feud. The race promises to be a close one, largely hinging on how many county committee members turn out for Stack in Jersey City.

As for Sweeney, he just wants one thing.

“Get me out of Hudson County politics,” Sweeney said last week.

DiVincenzo and Codey, a former governor, are battling it out for control of the 12-member Democratic organization in Roseland, which has a population of less than 6,000.

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